Stomach vs. Brain: Eat to Live or Live to Eat?

You just had a full lunch... but it's someone's birthday at the office and a luscious chocolate birthday cake is being passed around. Do you grab a piece or pass? A new study suggests it's all in the brain. The Wall Street Journal has the scoop on this interesting study.

Reactions differ between obese and healthy:

One thing is clear: Obese people react much more hedonistically to sweet, fat-laden food in the pleasure and reward circuits of the brain than healthy-weight people do. Simply seeing pictures of tempting food can light up the pleasure-seeking areas of obese peoples' brains.

The overweight subjects had strong reactions to the food in the amygdala—the emotional center of the brain—whether they were hungry or not. The healthy-weight subjects showed an amygdala response only when they were hungry.
But what you eat can effect your brain's ability to process feeling full:
Studies have found that a diet of sweet, high-fat foods can indeed blunt the body's built-in fullness signals.
The key to successful weight loss is a lifestyle change:
This suggests that the temptation to see food as pleasure doesn't go away. "Post-obese people are extremely prone to regain weight," says Dr. Del Parigi. "The only way they have to counteract these strong predispositions is by having a very controlled lifestyle, with restrained food intake and exercise."

In short, successful weight losers seemed to have having second thoughts about eating on impulse, says Dr. Del Parigi. "These people see a piece of pie that is very inviting, but they think, 'No, I have to diet. Otherwise, I will become obese again. I will suppress that pleasure,' " he says.
You can read the entire article at The Wall Street Journal

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